Leobijildo Tovar had to file an answer in his child custody case with Iris Gonsalez Flores by March 1, and he didn’t have time to contact his attorney. He grabbed a sheet of paper marked “answer” at the county clerk’s office in Miami and wrote a question by hand about child support to Miami-Dade Family Judge Nolivia Maldonado.

“I want to know what happens if I’ve been helping her always with $100 a week to feed the children,” he wrote in Spanish. He wanted to know what effect that would have on the judge’s future determinations about his child support payments.